Tips to Help Kids Overcome Fear of Dentists

Fear of dentists can impact kids’ dental hygiene negatively. As a parent, you can help your kids overcome their fears using these tips.

A trip to the dentist is always a different experience for each kid. Some become anxious and have many questions about the procedures, while others retreat in silence due to fear from the numerous scary stories they’ve heard.

Nonetheless, your duty as a parent is to make your kid comfortable during their visit to the dentist for the best oral hygiene results. Use the following tips to help your kid overcome the fear of dentists.

Start the Visits Early

The longer you wait before taking your kid to the dentist, the more fearful they may become because of the unfamiliar environment.

On the contrary, kids who visit the dentist while young grow less fearful once they get used to the environment. They also realize the significance of the dental checkups early and align to the best dental hygiene practices, including frequent dentist trips even in the future. Please make an effort to take your kid to the dentist soon after their first birthday.

Organize a Quick Pre-Appointment

A brief meeting with a dentist can help change how kids view dental visits. It doesn’t have to be an actual dental checkup. This should be an opportunity for your kid to interact with the dentist and familiarize themselves with the environment. Kids are unlikely to remain scared once they realize dentists are friendly people who only want to foster a long-term relationship with them.

Use Kid-Friendly Terms

Negative language only makes kids more fearful. Using words such as pain or shot in your vocabulary while describing different dental experiences makes your kid more anxious.

Instead, try using kid-friendly terms when explaining various dental procedures and tools to avoid scaring your kid. You can substitute negative words such as cavities with friendlier terms like sugar bugs during your conversation.

Keep it Simple

The last thing your kid wants to hear is the intricate details involving dental procedures. It only makes them more anxious and increases their fear of visiting the dentist. Therefore, keep the extra details to yourself. If possible, maintain a positive attitude whenever you’re discussing details about an upcoming dental visit.

Avoid giving your kid false hope, like telling them everything will be alright when unsure of the actual problem. This can break your trust with your kid, especially if they’ll need treatment after all.

Provide Positive Reinforcement

The promise to reward kids for good behavior during a dental appointment makes them look forward to more visits. These gifts can include going to the zoo, getting some ice cream, or spending time at their favorite play area.

Overcoming the Fear of Dentists

Fear of dentists can impact kids’ dental hygiene negatively. As a parent, you can help your kids overcome their fears using the above tips. However, remember this isn’t a one-person job, and a professional pediatric dentist can also help your child overcome their fears with their experience in the field.

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Updated: August 31, 2023

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